I used to frighten easily as a child. Also as a teenager, a young man, and then at regular intervals all though my adult life. No new thing was without nervousness and some progressed to real fear. And I wasn’t even very good at differentiating the things that were dangerous from the things that were just annoying – I missed clues a couple of times and it was only sheer luck that prevented disaster.
Then came November 2008 and there I was one Saturday morning lying on a gurney in our local hospital waiting to be dead. It was a long wait. In fact I am still waiting – the medical people attending me interrupted the process and put it off for some indefinite time. I think they were in the pay of the Taxation Department, as every year that I have been around since then Canberra has sent me a demand for money. Never mind conspiracy theories about moon landings – investigate the nexus between the heart surgeons and the ATO…
I have not had episodes of fear since. As I wasn’t frightened on the gurney there seems little point in reviving the emotion. I’m smart enough to avoid danger now but that’s about it.
And funnily enough I was in the same place this last weekend – a Saturday as it happened – but not lying down. I was sitting there as a spectator chatting to a family member who was being poked and prodded and I was trying not to laugh at the hospital gown she was wearing. The experience of being a viewer rather than the main feature is definitely better. I got a cup of tea and a biscuit, for instance, and I never got that in 2008.
Well it was all well and good and the tests came back and there was no illness or trouble anyway apart from a whacking admission fee and $ 12 into the parking machine. But the interesting thing was the emergency doctor attending the family member was the same lady who had poked and prodded me all those years ago. She showed me her 15 year and 20 year badges that they had sewed onto her clinical coat. I promised to return to see the 30 year one.
I have no complaints at all about the way our medical system works here in Australia. It is clean, efficient, kindly, and with me out of the workforce, safe.